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New Zealand Documentaries Selected For Cannes Docs

Four New Zealand documentaries will participate in this years Cannes Docs line-up.

Running June 22 – 26 as part of the Marché du Film Online, Cannes Docs showcases curated selections of docs-in-progress in post-production aiming to hit the film circuit within a few weeks or months. The Docs-In-Progress showcases are designed for decision makers looking for new titles, in particular festival programmers and sales agents.

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is one of eight major international festivals and organizations presenting their curated selection, including four docs-in-progress each, by a video pitch and 10-minute sequence of the rough cut.

The four New Zealand documentaries and filmmakers are:

The Girl on The Bridge - Director Leanne Pooley, Producers Cass Avery and Alex Reed. The story of a young woman with the weight of a generation on her shoulders. Having survived her own suicidal struggles Jazz Thornton is a mental health activist, fighting to change how society and the system are dealing with young people like her. This is a film about hope. It is a film about redemption. It is a challenge to all of us to try to understand. This is a very rare and personal insight into the cost of advocacy.

Fiona Clark: Unafraid - Director Lula Cucchiara, Producers Matt Noonan, Siobhan Proce and Cucchiara. When Fiona Clark, a young queer photographer exhibits her photography of the LGBTQI community in 1975, she and her friends face the systemic backlash of an oppressive New Zealand society. Unafraid, Fiona gives the middle finger to the patriarchy and we discover how her documentation and contribution to the queer community has helped transform New Zealand society.

James & Isey – Director/Producer Florian Habicht. 99-year-old Isey lives with her adult son James on their small farm in Kawakawa, New Zealand. They are descendents of Ngāti Manu – the Bird People. Isey is turning 100 in a week. In their unique relationship, James has devoted the last 20 years to looking after his mum. He is a tohunga (shaman) and brings the spirit world onboard to get her over 100. A joyous celebration of the sacred and the profane.

Till the Lights Go Out – Director Julia Parnell, Producers Nicola Peeperkoorn and Parnell. In a collision of rugby and music, five young men formed SIX60. With Māori roots as different as their upbringings, racist critics compound on young male egos struggling to break internationally, putting the band on a collision course with each other. Exploring what happens when aggressive ambition meets the vulnerability of creative expression, this is a contemporary story of culture, pop music and masculinity.

“Factual stories told by and about New Zealanders are a critical form of cultural expression and have been screened to large audiences at home and abroad,” said NZFC CEO, Annabelle Sheehan. “We are proud to have New Zealand documentaries showcased at Cannes Docs, giving these films an opportunity to build a global profile.”

Four prizes will be awarded to the winning docs-in-progress on Friday 26 June during an online Closing Ceremony. Prizes are comprised of the Docs-in-Progress Award, in partnership with The International Emerging Film Talent Association, with a €10,000 cash prize and professional project follow-up by IEFTA; the Impact Award, in partnership with Nordisk Panorama, providing a 2 hour consultation on the film’s impact and outreach strategy; the Cineli Digital Award, with a DCP offered by Cineli Digital, Paris, France; and the VOSTAO Award, with French and/or English subtitles offered by VOSTAO, Brussels, Belgium.

The Docs-In-Progress Jury will be composed of Head of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries in Riga, Latvia, Zane Balčus; French-Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker and actress, Lina Soualem – and winner of the 2019 Docs-in-Progress Award with her project Their Algeria, and Impact & Workshop Manager at Nordisk Panorama, Lea Maria Strandbæk Sørensen.

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